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How To Prevent Heel Pain In The Morning

Why does plantar fasciitis hurt worse in the morning?

Do the first few steps out of bed each morning cause intense, sharp pain in your foot and heel? Plantar fasciitis might be the cause.

Morning foot and heel pain is a distinctive feature of the presence of plantar fasciitis. Many sufferers wonder, why does my heel hurt in the morning?

The reason is because while we are sleeping, our feet and ankles naturally shift into a plantar flexed position (toes pointed downward) and this shortens the calf, Achilles tendon, and plantar fascia overnight.

So, when you take that first step in the morning, there is a sudden stretch of the soft tissues and the pain is immediate. It does seem to diminish as you continue to walk, however.

This is the short answer as to why your feet and heels hurt worse in the morning. Let's dig a little deeper into the mechanics of your foot and why morning foot pain is so debilitating.

Dr. Angela Walk

The Plantar Fasciitis Doc

Specializing in Foot & Gait Mechanics

Why Does My Heel Hurt In The Morning?

After a long period of inactivity while you sleep or when you sit for prolonged periods, the plantar fascia ligament and other soft tissues begin to shorten and tighten up.

So, when you awake in the morning and put your feet down to the ground to take your first step, you must place your heel in contact with the ground to take a step.

This rapid change in tendon and fascia length causes an immediate sharp, unrelenting pain response with the symptoms lessening as walking continues.

Experiencing heel/foot pain in the morning is a telltale sign on plantar fasciitis. It's one of the 3 signs that you may the condition.

Now that you know what may be causing your heel pain, let's look at other features of plantar fasciitis.

What Is Plantar Fasciitis?

Plantar Fasciitis is the most common cause of foot and heel pain. It involves a break down, or degeneration of the collagen fibers in the plantar fascia, a thick, fibrous band that runs from your heel to your forefoot.

Symptoms include pain at the inside portion of the heel that is worse after prolonged periods of rest and with the first steps in the morning.

It is more appropriately called plantar fasciosis since inflammation plays a lesser or no role based on recent studies.

3 Signs You Have Plantar Fasciitis

To help you better determine if your heel pain is being caused by plantar fasciitis, here are 3 signs that will help you confirm the diagnosis.

1. Pinpoint tenderness on the inside aspect of your heel bone

3 signs you have plantar fasciitis ` Dr. Angela Walk

The plantar fascia begins at your heel bone and fans out into your forefoot and attaches at the metatarsals. Take your finger and apply pressure to the inside portion of your heel bone. If this creates pain, this is the first sign you may have plantar fasciitis.

2. Pain with the first steps out of bed in the morning or after sitting for a prolonged period.

We have already discussed this step previously in this article. If you have heel pain with the first steps in the morning, this is the most distinctive feature of plantar fasciitis.

Also, if you have pain in the foot or heel with walking after longer periods of rest such as a long car ride or sitting at your workstation, that is another sign that you may have plantar fasciitis.

3. Pain in the arch with extension of the big toe (pulling the big toe toward the knee)

3 signs you have plantar fasciitis ~ Dr. Angela Walk

The third sign that you may have plantar fasciitis is pain with extension of the big toe. Pull your big toe up into extension. If this causes pain in your arch and heel, this is another positive test for plantar fasciitis.

What Is The Main Cause Of Plantar Fasciitis?

Ill-fitting footwear is the #1 cause of most foot and heel conditions including plantar fasciitis. The most common footwear mistake people make is wearing footwear that narrows or tapers at the toe.

When we cram our feet and toes into narrow toe boxes, our feet can not function normally and overtime begin to weaken. The intrinsic muscles of our feet begin to atrophy. This sets us up for conditions such as plantar fasciitis.

The solution is to transition into natural, functional footwear that is widest at the toe and has no heel elevation.

These are the design features required for healthy footwear: